This week can be used to understand the secret of how we grow our certainty.
Rav Yehuda Ashlag, the founder of The Kabbalah Centre, explains that growing our certainty is the main purpose of our spiritual work. In kabbalistic terms, Certainty is knowing for a fact that, every second, the Creator is guiding me to my ultimate potential. By awakening greater certainty, we can awaken greater blessings in our lives. We often feel embarrassed by our doubts and confusion, but thankfully that all changed for me when I learned the following secrets about this week’s energy from my teacher, Michael Berg.
According to the kabbalists, the key to the spiritual success of Abraham (whose life story continues in this week’s portion) is that he sacrificed himself. How exactly did Abraham sacrifice himself?
There is a spiritual law that explains the more one is spiritually developed, the greater the internal opponent to challenge them. Every day that unseen force tries to overpower us with its great strength – and without the help of the Creator we would lose the battle.
The more consciousness and clarity we have, the more we need to be challenged. Just like at the gym – the stronger the muscle, the heavier the weight needed to grow it. To assist the constant daily growth of our clarity and certainty, the doubt and confusion needs to also be stronger than yesterday. Naturally, we would be overpowered if our opponent got stronger and we didn't. If, after a session at the gym, the muscle didn’t ask the body for growth and repair, it would not be able to handle the heavier weight next time! That’s why we need to grow our certainty by asking the Light to give us a new level of certainty.
The only way to grow our certainty is when our doubt grows from one day to the next. The assistance the Creator gives us is a new and more developed level of certainty. Yesterday's certainty is no longer enough to sustain me today.
As we develop, the Opponent also needs to be one degree stronger. That’s why we will have moments of darkness and doubts, every single day, to stimulate the process of growth as follows:
- The Creator looks at us and asks one question: What level of certainty does this person have?
- The Creator then calibrates precisely how much opposition and doubt each of us need to overcome.
- If we do the work and ask for it, the Creator gives us the exact new level of certainty we need.
Since we cannot handle our ultimate test now, the Creator gives us small daily challenges to build us up to it. This is why we are given, step by step, small amounts of darkness, pain, confusion and doubt.
One thing we learn from this teaching is to appreciate the perfection of the system. The tests we are given are perfect for our process. This was the life of Abraham and how he perceived challenges:
The Creator asked him to leave his homeland and move to a new place. When he arrives, there is a famine and he had to move again right away! It was very confusing and made no sense even to Abraham. Finally, for his 10th and final test of certainty, the Creator asked him to sacrifice his dear son Isaac (which eventually never happened).
Abraham knew that whatever is happening right now is perfect for my process of awakening doubt and confusion. The universe is giving me the desire for greater certainty so I can ask for it and receive it. Abraham was excited and waited for the fresh confusion and doubt. If everything made sense, there would be no desire to ask for greater certainty! That is the only purpose of those challenges and pain, for us to be able to realize that we need greater certainty every day. The only purpose of all of Abraham’s tests was to awaken more confusion so he would have a vessel to receive greater certainty.
So what was the meaning of Abraham 'sacrificing himself', which allowed him to awaken endless blessings in the world?
When the doubt and confusion came during each test and his mind told him “this doesn’t make' sense’” or “I should be sad now and upset with the Creator”, Abraham instead said: “I'm going to sacrifice my logical mind and ask for greater certainty.” He wanted the challenges that would allow him to sacrifice yesterday's clarity and certainty and replace it with a new, higher level. This is why Abraham reached a level no one had ever reached before. Abraham’s example shows us that we can also reach a level we never imagined possible.